Political Unrest in Libya Introduction For the past forty-two years Muammar Gaddafi has been in control of Libya. For the past few months the people of Libya has been involved in a civil war with hopes of Muammar Gaddafi stepping down as the Prime Minister. The civil war began with the arrest of human rights activist Fethi Tarbel; who works to free political prisoners. The arrest of Tarbel triggered a riot in the city of Benghazi. February 17, 2006 is a known date in Libya because that was the day that security forces killed protesters outside of the Italian consulate, so anti-Gaddafi activist choose February 17, 2011 as a day of rage.
All over the city of Benghazi laws were being defied and law enforcement officers were being ignored by the people who were tired of forty-two years of Muammar Gaddafi’s reign. The Libyan civil war is an important social issue because Muammar Gaddafi is killing his own people in attempt to keep control of Libya. Any time a leader is killing his own people it is a matter of international affairs. As a leader he should not be killing his own people in attempt to keep control of his reign. As a nation we should be worried about the Libyan war because not only is innocent people being killed, Libya is an oil producing country.
As an oil producing country Libya exports 1. 6 million barrels a day eighty percent of oil exported Libya is imported to Europe (petroleum-export). The United States imports one percent of Libyan oil but forty percent of European oil and when imported oil is disrupted in Europe it is felt in the United States. Libya is also surrounded by countries that are sometimes hostile. The United States depends on Libya to be able to project influence and power into those hostile countries if needed to be (NPR). General Background
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Libyan Arab Jamahiriya is a country in northern Africa that was previously controlled by the Italians until 1943 when they lost in World War II. Libya gained their independence in 1951 from the United Nations Trusteeship making Tripoli the capital. Libya is populated with about 6,597,960 people with a thirty percent unemployment rate (CIA). Majority of the people that make up Libya is from the Arabian descent. With majority of the people being Arab, the religion that is most practiced is Sunni Muslim (CIA).
There are three languages that are widely spoken in Libya which are: English, Italian and Arabic being the official language of Libya. While some people might mistake Libya for being a communist country it is not. The belief of Libya is from the "green book” which rejects communism (CIA). Libya is actually considered an authoritarian country which is defined as; characterized by or favoring absolute obedience to authority, as against individual freedom (the free dictionary). Just like any other self-governing country Libya has its own military with all five branches.
Muammar Gaddafi fights for power and gets it Muammar Gaddafi sometimes referred to as Colonel Gaddafi graduated from the University of Libya in 1963 (Britannica). Soon after that he began to come up with a plan to overthrow King Idris I. He decided to go to a military academy to achieve some rank. In 1965 Muammar Gaddafi graduated from the Libyan Military Academy (Britannica). After he graduated he began to rise within the ranks of the Libyan military. September 1, 1969 Colonel Gaddafi successfully overthrew the monarchy of King Idris I in a bloodless military coup (Britannica).
Many high ranking officials thought his plan was a mastermind so at the age of twenty-seven colonel Gaddafi was named commander in chief of the armed forces and chairman of the revolutionary command council which was Libya’s new governing body. In 1970 he was appointed Prime Minister (Britannica). Once in power Gaddafi began making some radical changes in Libya by removing the United States and British military bases from Libyan soil (Britannica). He began to push his Islamic beliefs onto the people of Libya by banning alcoholic beverages and gambling.
Gaddafi tried several times to unite Libya with other Arabian countries, but all of his attempts were unsuccessful. He formed the Arab Socialist Republics changing the official name of Libya to Republic Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (dnewsglobal). Not only did he change the name of Libya but he also changed the flag from its original red, black, and green with a star and crescent on the middle to a simple green colored flag. He changed the government landscape of Libya to be led into two main pillars (dnewsglobal). One of them is called the “revolutionary sector” while the other is called he “Jamahiriya Sector”. They are extremely different because the revolutionary sector consists of Gaddafi as the leader, The Revolutionary Committee, and the Revolutionary Command Council (dnewsglobal). The revolutionary sector is the core power in Libya. The people that are in the revolutionary sector are appointed so they have no term of office (dnewsglobal). On the other hand the “Jamahiriya sector”, is for the people it is the Libyan congress and is the legislative part of the two sectors. The people that serve the Jamahiriya sector are elected every four years (dnewsglobal).
Along with everything else Muammar Gaddafi wrote a “green book” which outlines the three basic understanding of democracy on the basis of “people’s power”, “economic Socialism” and “third international theory. ”(dnewsglobal) The book is a very controversial book because the green book promotes the system of direct democracy based on the formation of people’s committees. Although there are two committees that runs the core of Libya it always come down to one person which is Muammar Gaddafi and forty-two years of power is far from a democracy. Civil War
Two weeks into February a human rights activist name Fathi Tarbel was arrested (CNN). The people of Libya were outraged and they began to protest outside of the police headquarters in Benghazi in attempt to free Tarbel. The protest started with 200 people but quickly rose to about 600 people. Things took a major turn when Libyan police came out dressed in civilian clothes to break up the protest. They dispensed tear gas, hot water and they hit the protesters with baton sticks. Gaddafi began to use his air force to calm things down. He ordered an helicopter to fire rapidly on the protesters in Benghazi.
The protesters began to fight force wit force by packing a car with explosives with the hopes of breaking into a nearby military camp (CNN). The protest spread to other parts of Libya in Quryna African mercenaries opened fire on the civilians in Tajourea (CNN). In the countries capitol war planes and helicopters conducted air strikes. Even though there were some people against Gaddafi there were still some people for him. The people that wanted him gone began to fight with the people that wanted him to stay. All of the fighting going on eventually spread to Zamiya, Tajura and Misrata (cnn).
In Zawiya seventeen people were killed and 150 were wounded (CNN). It was reported that mercenaries were shooting at unarmed civilians in Tajura(CNN). In Tripoli snipers and other security forces were firing at the crowd in an attempt to make them disperse (CNN). Once anti-Gaddafi people took over Zamiya they began to fight back against pro-government people. The anti-Gaddafi people were taking over Libya and Gaddafi had enough by stating “they play hard I also play hard. I will survive until the last drop of blood. ” He ordered Libyan aircrafts to drop bombs were the rebels had took over.
He ordered mortar and machine gun attacks. Muammar Gadaffi growing very upset began to bomb places just to make sure there were no rebels there. A CNN witness stated that “he is bombing his way into Misrata…he doesn’t care if all of the people there are dead by the end of the day (CNN). ” The rebels managed to get their hands on anti-aircraft weapons in an attempt to fight back some of the air attacks ordered by Gaddafi (CNN). Since the united nations ordered a cease fire and a no-fly zone(CNN) Gaddafi took his attacks on more of an ground mission.
Despite the international orders Libyan forces continued to fire mortars and heavy fire into the city of Misrata to try and take control back of lost land. The human watch has reported Gaddafi forces placed dozens of land mines outside the city of Ajdabiya (CNN). Everyone has their own view on the Libyan civil war even the media. The Medias perspective on the Libyan civil war is that it is unacceptable. They feel that Muammar Gaddafi’s tactics are completely out of line for killing his own people. They also feel that the rebels should stop and let international forces handle Muammar Gaddafi.
A CNN reporter stated that “the rebel forces appear to be in disarray. It’s been a very chaotic effort on the part of opposition fighters from the beginning. They have no command-and-control structure and little discipline. ” International Diplomacy Many surrounding countries began to take action to distance them from Libya. The Arab League suspended all Libyan delegates to attend their meetings (euronews). Since Libya is a country within the United Nations one of their responsibilities is to protect its population and with all of the killing of their citizens Libya is clearly not upholding that responsibility.
The United Nations Security Council decided to put some sanctions against Libya by putting a travel ban and freezing the assets of Muammar Gaddafi’s family and other Libyan figure heads (euronews). Since Gaddafi could not comply with the reminder made earlier to protect its population, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously suspended Libya from the human rights council (foxnews). The United Nations Security Council international criminal court opened an investigation against Muammar Gaddafi, his sons, and his close political circle for crimes against humanity.
Muammar Gaddafi and his family assets were frozen in certain countries (euronews). The United States response to the Libyan problem was that it was unacceptable. President Barack Obama said that “Muammar Gaddafi has lost the legitimacy to rule and need to do what is right by his country and leave now (cbsnews). ” Twenty-seven leaders of the European Union countries put together a no-fly zone request with the support of the Arab league and the United Nations. The no-fly zone was passed unanimously.
In an attempt to help the civilians of Libya American, French and British navies and air forces launched cruise missiles and airstrikes against Libyan military positions and their communication facilities (CNN). Conclusion After reviewing my information and observing it I came to the conclusion that Muammar Gaddafi needs to go. Forty-Two years has been long enough for Gaddafi there should be another leader for the country of Libya from the beginning he has been changing things in Libya and he now has to recognize that there needs to be a change in leadership for Libya. The people have clearly spoken and they are ready for a new leader.
From my perspective of the situation in Libya I believe that it is unacceptable. No leader from any country should be allowed to kill his people and not expect to be checked about it. Since Libya is a part of the United Nations they should up hold the united nation laws one of them being “protect your population”. Muammar Gaddafi is clearly not upholding that law. I also believe that there should be more discipline to handle the situation in Libya. I don’t think that rebels should be the ones to take care of the work because they have no training and especially no discipline.
For the rebels there is no sense of organization because they don’t have communication abilities the Gaddafi has. While I don’t believe that a country should go to war with Libya I do believe that troops from different countries put together should go in and try to deter the situation. Even though the United Nations put up sanctions like the no-fly zone and the countries that support the no-fly zone is helping by sending air strikes and other forms of attack the innocent people of Libya have suffered enough it has been going on since February and it needs to end now.
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